Does this suggest that novels marketed as heroes journeys and heroines journeys ought to have a few readers out there? Some publishers say "no." They say that if you mention journeys of any kind, readers' eyes will glaze over and they'll think, "OMG, this book is literary fiction."
My offended response is, "So what?"
Publisher: 'Literary fiction doesn't sell."
Me: "How do you explain the success of The Tiger's Wife, The Night Circus, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Shadow of the Wind and a long list of other novels that can easily be labelled 'literary fiction'?"
Publisher: "Those books have something you don't have."
Publisher: "Publishers' marketing campaigns."
Me: "So, if I had written either The Night Circus or The Tiger's Wife and then tried to market them with restrained Tweets (we don't want to sound like SPAM), casual Facebook references (friends don't want to hear 'buy my book' every day), blog tours on other people's blogs and excerpts on my blog, neither book would be on anyone's radar at the end of the year."
Publisher: "You broke the code, ace."
These realities include an infinite number of "disconnects" for a writer. One of them is this: If you can't find an agent who will pitch your work to a big publisher who will support your book with advertising, don't write anything like The Tiger's Wife, The Night Circus, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Shadow of the Wind.
On the flip side of the coin, if you write a book like one of those and then do a light-hearted blog tour that promotes the book as "a quick read" that you can "finish in between drinks" at a spa in Vegas, then: (a) people will be angry when they discover they're into something more substantial and (b) Any reader who was looking for, say, a heroine's journey or a hero's journey would never find the book because everyone avoided saying it was what it was.
Truth be told, very few novels sell without traditional marketing no matter how much we ooh and ahh about the democratic wonders of everyone in the world writing a book and then going on a blog tour to "sell it." So, I'm thinking that every once in a while I should admit that my books are what they are.
The Truth About My Books
I started this blog in 2004 after writing a hero's journey novel called The Sun Singer. In 2010, I followed that up with another hero's journey called Garden of Heaven: an Odyssey. And then, last August, my heroine's journey novel Sarabande was released.
I hope you'll keep the truth under wraps unless you're pretty sure you're talking to one of the people responsible for all those hero's journey and heroine's journey hits on Google.